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13th November 2011 01:52 PM #1
What can you do to come to terms with an unexpected outcome?
At the Pregnancy and Parenting Network in October we discussed Unexpected outcomes at length. One of the issues we discussed is what are some positive strategies to help come to terms with an unexpected outcome. Strategies that the group came up with were:
- Probably one of the most important things to do is to debrief after the birth. You many need to tell your story over and over to different people. Having a skilled listener can be very helpful. Talking to your midwife can help
- It was suggested to write down your birth story. It was felt that it helped you to learn more about your experience and that you'll remember more.
- Reading other women's stories was viewed positively by most in the group
- Look after your health - eat well, rest and consider natural therapies
- Seek counselling if needed
- Give yourself time ...
Do you have any other suggestions? Can you share your experience?
8th January 2012 06:38 PM #2
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- Jan 2012
Debriefing is wonderful, although it doesn't have to be official - I think that in many cases it's better to chat informally with someone who has the same views on birth as you do and whom you know will be understanding and not judge your experience for you. For instance, if you had a traumatic birth which involved an induction that you did not really want, then it would probably not be a good idea to try and debrief with a person who thinks that inductions are the next best thing to sliced bread. Also, it can sometimes help to talk about your birth with the midwife or ob who attended you, however, if you were not happy with the assistance you received from them, then tell them that, but maybe choose someone else to debrief the birth with.
If anyone tries to derail your feelings of trauma or loss by saying that you "should be grateful that you have a healthy baby," then leave the conversation; they clearly aren't getting the point and are not the best person to be debriefing with, as these sorts of derailing comments can make you feel even more guilt over the birth you didn't get, the birth you wanted for you and your baby, and they certainly don't bring healing. Don't try and debrief with people who try to derail you.
When you have had a traumatic birth you must be gentle with yourself, as it is not your fault. Give yourself time to grieve for the birth you didn't get, and don't beat yourself up.
Because traumatic events cause of bodies to have to deal with excess stress hormones, it can be helpful to provide your body some extra nutritional building blocks to help it restore its equilibrium. Vitamin C is helpful after stressful events, as are B vitamins. A qualified/certified naturopath is often a great person to see if you are suffering from excessive fatigue and/or depresssion, especially if you are not keen on going down the antidepressant path, as there are many effective natural therapies and natural medications which can assist your body to restore its own natural equilibrium.
Keeping a private journal in which to record your thoughts and feelings helps many people. You don't have to show anyone the journal, and you can even burn it afterwards if you desire. Such a ritual may seem extreme but some people have found healing through writing down any self-destructive thoughts they have had, eg guilt and then destroying the paper it's written on. Fire is a primal force and our bodies are connected with the primal forces - it can help to get in touch with the earth in this way. Giving birth is not just a physical journey, it is a spiritual journey as well.
What else...? Um... I'm having a think! Also, meeting with a like-minded mothers' group in your local area on a regular basis can be a wonderful thing.
20th January 2012 10:05 PM #3
I would second the above by Kestrel - keep talking. Surround yourself with: friends, positive people who will listen and suitable, caring health professionals. Don't feel guilty that you are struggling: be nice to yourself and give yourself time. It's ok (and normal) to need lots of help.
30th January 2012 02:17 PM #4
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- Jan 2012
i also agree with the above. After my 4 unplanned caesers, confidence in my birthing ability was at an all time low. my doula suggested writing my births stories down...not the polite version that people are told, but the real story with the roller coaster of emotions whether good or bad. it was quite helpful in that i realised there were some things that worked against me in labour. this all helped me have a successful vbac next time around.
31st January 2012 04:13 AM #5
Hi gez15673, yes I too have found writing a journal of what really happened helpful in coming to terms with the outcome. I'm glad you were able to successfully have a vbac after your difficult previous birth experience.
31st January 2012 11:55 AM #6
1st February 2012 10:43 PM #7
Birthing a glorious baby in a not so glorious fashion
I have always believed in my body’s ability to birth naturally. After taking 20 years to achieve a successful pregnancy I had come to view the impending birth as my magnum opus. I was going to birth a glorious baby in a glorious fashion.
Numb from the waist down in an operating theatre after days of labour, and hours of what I would politely classify as torture at the hands of clock-watching hospital midwives, was not what I had planned. I suppose because I am resilient, and because most of all I was aching to hold a living baby in my arms, I let go of it all in the moments before they lowered that blue curtain and I saw my glorious baby for the first time. One out of two ‘glorious’ isn’t bad right? I had a beautiful baby, the baby I strived for 20 years to carry (my first baby was carried by another woman on my behalf).
Twenty-four hours later the cracks were beginning to show. My adoration of my child was beyond words but it was the little things that got to me. Like when I absentmindedly flipped through her new blue book and my eyes fell on the words ‘failure to progress.’ I had failed. My body had failed. I was a failure. How could this be? How could I, the great campaigner for gentle birth, me, the woman who had championed the cause and converted so many woman, I, who had watched those women go on to have glorious births… How could it be, that in the end it was me who had failed?
Here I sit twelve months on and for the most part I have made peace with what happened. I understand now that great emotional pressures in the last half of my pregnancy (including my partner leaving) undoubtedly contributed to my state of mind and my inability to let go and surrender to my labour. I also have come to trust the feelings I had from early in the pregnancy that the baby was poorly positioned. It was this positioning which started the spiral and ended it. And last I have come to accept that all this accepting cannot change what happened.
But now for the crunch. As I ponder another pregnancy I am torn between an intense desire to give my body a second chance – to forgive it its trespassers and believe in it again – and to run screaming in fear straight to a hospital.
As I work through these feelings I have found myself beginning to do something suggested to me soon after my daughter’s birth. I was privileged to have a wonderful private midwife with me who, knowing how important it would be for me, took many photos throughout my labour and of my baby’s birth. She knew when I said ‘Take photos. Please. We have to be able to tell the story’ that I meant photos of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Anyway, in those early days my midwife suggested that I set the photos to music in a short film style. At the time I thought I could never do it. But slowly, all this time later, I am. I have shed many tears examining each photo, remembering the feelings that went with them and grieving for what I lost. But at the same time I have come to view this as my new opus. Testament to what my body could endure, how far I would go, to birth a living baby.
I still feel cheated and perhaps, to some extent, I always will. But for the most part I have come to believe that, for whatever reason, my baby was meant to be born exactly where she was. I must trust in her and believe that she knew what was best. Also I must forgive my body and allow it a second chance. After all it has been through, it deserves at least that much.
Last edited by Mumof2IVFmiracles; 15th February 2012 at 12:00 AM.
29th April 2012 09:23 PM #8
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- Apr 2012
My youngest was a preemie and I had to leave her at the NICU for 1 week. It was very traumatic for me to leave my Bub in the hospital while I went home. I visited her daily until the paediatrician told us it was okay for us to take her home. Even now, it upsets me that she was born 1 month early. She suffers even from the slightest cold. I talk to my friends and other mums whose children were like my girl. it gives me a sense of peace that I'm not alone.
1st May 2012 12:23 AM #9
Dear Mummy Joey,
I'm sorry to hear you and your daughter had such a traumatic experience when she was first born. Thank you for sharing your experience as I believe this will help to support others who have been through premature births and are trying to deal with the emotions they are feeling.
That's great you can talk to other mums about this. I suffered from post traumatic stress after the birth of my son and it was only through the support of other mums that I started to move forward from this experience. Did you attend an organised group or were the mums friends you already knew?
Best wishes to you and your family,
1st May 2012 03:52 AM #10
Hi Mummy Joey,
There are some natural things you can do to boost your baby's immune system so that she is more resistant to infection and doesn't catch colds so easily.
Please let us know how old she is, if she is breastfeeding and if she is eating baby food/solids and we will give you some ideas on how to boost her immune system. It's no fun having a sick baby all the time
5th May 2012 02:15 PM #11
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- Apr 2012
My daughter is now 5 years old. To add to my guilt of having her come out early was the fact that I never got the chance to breastfeed her. My 2 older kids were breastfed but the little one was not able to. She was just too young and she didn't know how to latch on to my breast.
She is an active 5 year old. But like I said, when a cough or a cold hits her, she gets it real hard. When she was 3 years old, she spent a week in the hospital for pneumonia.
13th May 2012 01:09 AM #12
Hi Mummy Joey,
Thank you for the clarification. I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter had to spend a week in the hospital for pneumonia when she was 3. That must have been very hard on all of you.
The good news is there are some wonderful, easy, things you can to do help boost her immune system so that these things won't hit her quite as hard.
One of the best and "free" things you can do is to help her avoid sugar and white flour products (i.e. cookies, cake, muffins, most crackers, etc.) If she wants something sweet, choose fresh or frozen fruit or even canned fruit if it doesn't have added sugar, but fresh or frozen is always better than canned. It has more nutrients, and your daughter needs these nutrients to build her immune system. Another alternative to sugar is a natural sugar like honey or agave nectar. Xylitol or Stevia can also be used to sweeten drinks, like if you make fresh lemonade for her by squeezing fresh lemon juice into a glass of water and then adding a little stevia to make it sweet. Dried fruits are also a better alternative than sugar (i.e. raisins, dates, dried apple rings, dried pears, dried peaches, prunes, etc.). Be sure you avoid dried fruit that has sulfur added to preserve it. You will find that many dried fruits, like apricots, normally have sulfur added to preserve color. This should be avoided when trying to boost the immune system.
Another thing that can be given when she wants something sweet is a fruit smoothie. Try something like orange juice, banana and pineapple to begin with. If she likes that, then add a handful of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or baby salad greens. The smoothie will turn green, but you really can't taste the green much, in a smoothie and it is so good for the body.
You may also want to try to avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body. This would include cow milk products and even wheat and grains with gluten. Corn and some oats are gluten free, and are good alternatives to wheat. Drinking raw milk is much better for the body than drinking pasteurized milk, and drinking goat milk is easier to digest than cow milk. Cows have 4 stomachs so they can process their mother's milk much easier than a human, with only one stomach, can digest it. If we're not digesting our food well, then we're not getting a lot of the nutrients the food provides, which can weaken our immune system.
Some things that I do to help boost the immune system when there's illness going around our home include:
- Avoiding sugar and processed foods (as mentioned above)
- Taking a probiotic like acidophilus. There are some wonderful products with a variety of probiotic strains that you can get at the store. Just open the capsule up and put it in some unsweetened applesauce. It doesn't have any flavor and your daughter should take it just fine. Alternatively, you can make a more powerful probiotic by fermenting foods. It all depends on how you can get some of this into your daughter (what she will eat). I'll include a couple of videos on how to culture foods at the end of this post. Dr. Mercola just posted a very good article on his website about the benefits of cultured foods. Oh, and while we're on the topic of cultured foods, making your own kefir helps to start the digestion process of the milk, and it's something your daughter might like to eat. Avoid buying the high sugar kefir at the store, if possible.
- Taking some colostrum. This is the first liquid that babies get before breastmilk comes in. It is full of wonderful properties that boost the immune system. Colostrum is now available in liquid and capsule form (it comes from cows but it works well).
- Taking extra vitamin C and zinc. Be careful with the zinc, as you can over due it, but giving your daughter a zinc lozenge can help boost the immune system, especially if she is exposed to a cold. My family likes taking Emergen-C. This is a fizzy powder that you add to water. It has a lot of vitamins in it, along with the vitamin C. If you find that your daughter starts to get diarrhea from taking vitamin C, you'll want to back off on it, but in general, Vitamin C doesn't cause problems for most people and can be very beneficial to give at the first sign of a cold (that first sneeze, itchy throat, sniffle, etc.). I've kicked some colds within 24 hours by taking vitamin C early enough.
I would also encourage you to choose vaccines wisely. Vaccines are becoming more and more known for compromising the immune system. Be sure you're researching each and every vaccine before giving permission for it to be administered to your child. We have a whole area focused on vaccine discussion, so be sure to check that out.
Hope you enjoy the videos below and feel free to post back with any questions, or when your daughter starts to show the first signs of getting sick, and we'll try to give you more helpful suggestions.
Last edited by 5Homebirths4Kate; 13th May 2012 at 01:13 AM.
14th May 2012 11:02 PM #13
Dear Mummy Joey,
I see Kate has given us some super advice above.
Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet rich in: Zinc, Vitamin E and Vitamin C is an excellent way to boost your child's immune system. There is also evidence that eating garlic can help to boost our immune systems as it helps to increase the number of white blood cells in the body and these help to fight off infections.
Another natural tip for if you feel your daughter is starting to get a cold is to give her 'hot foods' such an onions, radishes and chilli (these can, of course, be cooked with other food! I'm not sure she would enjoy straight chilli!). These type of foods can help to break down mucus.
25th July 2012 03:51 PM #14
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- Jun 2012
I find the whole thread very informative. I even tell my mum friends to check our forum's site to get solid and vital information on motherhood, pregnancy, parenting and many other things related to it. It is especially great to know that there are things that even long time mothers may not have known or understood and got all the information in the forum. It also feels nice to be talking, sharing experiences and advice with people you consider to be part of your circle.
Keep it up everybody!
25th July 2012 09:34 PM #15
I totally agree MumO'Three. This is a great place to share our pregnancy and parenting experiences.
One thing I have learnt since I have been a mum is that there is always something new to learn! As our children and families grow, there are always new elements to parenting (highs and lows) to share and support each other in.